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Lady Wildcats looking for improved season

By By Jeff Byrd/staff writer
November 2, 2002
A solid off-season of work this summer has the Meridian High Lady Wildcats looking for big things in the 2002-03 basketball season.
The Lady Wildcats of head coach Donald Shirley will get an early test of just how good things might be when they take part in the Choctaw Central Classic tonight.
Meridian is scheduled to take on West Lauderdale in its opener at 7 p.m. The game rematches the two teams that battled for the State Games of Mississippi's Gold Medal last June in Meridian.
Last year, the Lady Wildcats struggled with an inconsistent attack and wound up out of the post-season with a 15-13 record. The year before, Meridian played for the 5A state title.
Shirley says having three starters back, including the team's top scorer in Valencia Hairston, will help the club be better prepared at the start.
Hairston, a 6-foot-1 senior, is one of the state's top players. She is capable of playing any of the front court positions and can score from the block and off the perimeter. She led the team, averaging over 20 points a game.
A big help is the return of two juniors in Alexis Clemons and Courtney Wade.
Junior Brittany Davidson steps into the starting point guard position which was left vacant after the graduation of the team's second leading scorer in Stephanie Mosley. Mosley is now a freshman guard at Meridian Community College.
Megan Mendiola returns at the two-guard slot. She was the team's third-best perimeter shooter behind Mosley and Hairston.
The Lady Wildcats hope to go eight or nine deep at the start of the year.
Shannon Loyd, Marissa Mendiola, Lee Ann Williams, K'Jecia Evans and Latisha Jones started for the second-teamers in a pair of pre-season scrimmages.